July Volunteer of the Month

Lauren Costello, Ridgefield resident and a rising junior at the University of Richmond, has a passion for volunteering and loves to work with organizations that support children. Nominated by Kids Helping Kids, she is spending her summer break volunteering 5 days a week as their Social Media Manager and we are thrilled to honor Lauren as our July Volunteer of the Month.

Since May, Lauren has been managing the Kids Helping Kids social media pages and telling their story through photos and video. She is also responsible for updating the website and researching and writing grants to help secure funding for future service projects. Lauren has attended all of the summer KHK projects and engages completely with guests. The children feel comfortable around her patient and kind demeanor. “She’s always willing to wear many hats, she is personable, creative, organized and has consistently demonstrated a strong work ethic. We are so grateful for Lauren’s time and many talents,” shared Jen Bentley, Kids Helping Kids Program Director.

Lauren was looking for a summer project that involved working with children and found this opportunity posted on VolunteerSquare.com. She was inspired by Kids Helping Kid’s mission and excited to work with a youth lead organization that allows kids to come up with ideas about how to make a difference in their community and gives them the resources to fulfill these projects. Through her internship, she’s learned a lot about leadership and how to run a nonprofit. She admires the passion that the children and staff at Kids Helping Kids have and their ability to make such a difference in the communities they serve. “I love the feeling of giving back and working with kids, so I knew this was the right organization,” Lauren shared.

Majoring in psychology, with a minor in classical civilization, Lauren hopes to become a Child Psychologist. She attended John F. Kennedy Catholic HS in Somers, NY where there was a strong focus on community service. Students were required to complete 120 service hours to graduate. Her focus on community service continued when she went to college. Lauren is a founding member of U MatteR Peer Wellness Coaching Program, University of Richmond’s pilot program in collaboration with Counseling and Psychological Services and the Student Health Center. The program aims to improve student mental health and well-being by using trained students as peer wellness coaches to provide support with stress management and mental health related issues.

Lauren also volunteers as a counselor for Camp Kesem, a nationwide community, driven by passionate college student leaders, that supports children through and beyond their parent’s cancer. Each college chapter fundraises and hosts a week long camp for kids to give them time away from home and allow them to “just be kids.” Lauren is on the Executive Board that plans fundraisers year round to support the camp. This summer marks her second year on the board and as a counselor.

Lauren’s summer is filled with opportunities to give back to the two communities she calls home. She will work with Kids Helping Kids through the beginning of August and then return to the University of Richmond for Camp Kesem. Her passion and spirit for working with young people is inspiring and we wish her the best as she continues to make an impact on the lives of the people she works with. On behalf of Volunteer Square and Kids Helping Kids, we want to thank Lauren for her outstanding service in Connecticut and Richmond and for inspiring others to give back to their community too. Congratulations, Lauren!

Kids Helping Kids is a non-profit based in Stamford whose mission is to develop leadership skills through youth-led service projects. All of their projects are initiated, managed and led by youth who feel inspired to take their passion and turn it into action to benefit underserved children in the community. The volunteers at KHK build leadership and real-life skills such as confidence, resilience, and problem-solving by initiating and launching projects that provide fun and engaging afternoons for local kids who might not have many of these opportunities. Their approach fosters a unique awareness among kids who commit to reach beyond themselves and make an impact in the community while developing themselves at the same time. To date, Kids Helping Kids has had over 5,000 students from 132 different schools involved in their youth-led service projects. Go to www.KidsHelpingKidsCT.org for more information.